The legendary monster of a voice known as Mark Lanegan graced Greenpoint’s Warsaw theater with a mesmerizing performance that bathed in that deeply graveled roar that you can so easily drown in. Lanegan was the otherworldly frontman to the influential psychedelic garage rock group known as Screaming Trees, who helped kick-start the whole grunge rock explosion in the mid to late 80’s Pacific Northwest scene, and long before anyone knew of the likes of Nirvana, this band defined that rustic, low-fi, hard rocking, and relentlessly dark rock sound that went on to define the genre. However, as is often the case in rock history, by the time they got big, the genre was already a relic, and they never made it past the 90’s before turning to dust. The end of that band only made Lanegan rise from the ashes like a Phoenix, so on top of turning out a dozen or so solo albums, he’s also been one of the most prolific nomads in rock, as he was a once full-time member of Queens of the Stone Age with his good pal Josh Homme on several of their most killer albums, did a few albums with Belle & Sebastian vocalist Isobel Campbell, and lots of stuff with Afghan Whigs and Twilight Singers singer Greg Dulli under the name The Gutter Twins, as well as making countless appearances with other bands and artists across the wide spectrum of modern music from hard-rockin’ acts like Eagles of Death Metal and Earth to electronic-heavy acts like Soulsavers and Massive Attack.
His travels may have taken him to many different places musically, but this tour is exclusively a celebration of the music of the Mark Lanegan Band, and this was the very first performance of his that I’ve seen where he didn’t perform any of his other songs with other artists and bands. This tour is called the “Stitch it Up” tour, named for the first single off his forthcoming album Somebody’s Knocking which is out later this year, and it feels like a healing sort of trip for this calloused and bloodied musical legend who has gone through more heartbreak and grief than just about anyone else in existence could ever handle. His stony demeanor, leathery voice, and darkly pulp noir ambiance was quite mesmerizing throughout the nearly two-hour long show.
The night opened with a performance by Crime & the City Solution singer Simon Bonney, who played a stripped-down solo acoustic set. The Lanegan Band set did hit up some of the lowest tones of his solo material with tracks like “The Gravedigger’s Song,” “Hit the City,” and a heavenly rendition of “Bleeding Muddy Water” performed faithfully from a dimly lit stage by a stoically standing Lanegan, who may not move around much up on stage, but he does mesmerize with his thunderous presence. After coming out for an encore, he was joined by his wife and musical partner Shelley Brien, who came out towards the end of the show and sang on a few stripped-down duets before they cranked up the volume again for a classic closer of “Methamphetamine Blues.” Mark Lanegan is a wizard of spellbinding with a mystical voice, and his band spins a wondrous yarn, and the lengthy set managed to prove how masterfully his solo material holds up to this day.
Article: Dean Keim